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Kahane can push law to ban Arab-Israeli sex, court says

JERUSALEM -- Israel's highest court ruled Thursday that Rabbi Meir Kahane could propose parliament bills that would restrict the rights of non-Jews and ban sexual relations between Arabs and Jews.

In its spring session, Israel's Knesset, or parliament, had annulled Kahane's right to present private bills, arguing that the proposed legislation was undemocratic and racist.

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The American-born Kahane, elected to the Knesset in July 1984 on a platform calling for the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel and its occupied Arab territories, appealed the Knesset ban to the three-man Supreme Court.

The court said that preventing a parliament member from proposing legislation was beyond the reach of the Knesset.

The draft bills that Kahane intended to submit would limit the rights of non-Jews in Israel and outlaw sexual relations between Jews and Arabs.

Kahane, leader of the Kach Party, has just one seat in the 120-member Knesset, but public opinion polls in the spring and summer indicated he would win from 10 to 12 seats if elections were held then.

The attempt to disallow Kahane from offering legislation was one of three similar steps taken by the Knesset.

The Knesset passed a bill that would disallow anyone who expounds racism from running in elections. It also passed a measure that would keep any foreign citizen from sitting in the Israeli legislature.

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The United States has stripped Kahane of his U.S. citizenshp, which he held at the time of his election, because American law does not allow U.S. citizens to sit in a foreign government.

The overwhelming majority of Americans who emigrate to Israel keep their U.S. citizenship and hold two passports -- U.S. and Israeli.

Kahane has vowed to fight in both Israeli and U.S. courts against the measures by both countries to force him to surrender his U.S. citizenship. The extremist rabbi also said he will appeal the Knesset attempt to keep him from running in the next Israeli election.

Removal of Kahane's U.S. citizenship means he would require a visa each time he wanted to enter the United States, which would inhibit his attempts to raise money.

Kahane, the Brooklyn-born founder of the Jewish Defense League, said last summer that he raises the bulk of his funds from American supporters. He said his Kach party once was made up mainly of American and Russian Jews in Israel, but the movement now is overwhelmingly Israeli.

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